Colbert, Henry

Extant biographical information about Henry Colbert has not been found to date. Newspaper articles identified him as an African American man who worked as a farmhand and lived in Kentucky in 1883. Despite their racial biases, newspaper accounts of the preceding incident agreed on several facts.  The Hickman Courier covered the lynching and proceeding trial. […]

May, Richard

Richard May was an African American male, who worked as a field hand. Beyond his sex, race, and occupation, which were mentioned in the newspaper articles, there is no extant biographical information is available. According to contemporaneous accounts, Sod Kelly, a white farmer, employed Richard May as a tobacco picker in Owensboro, Kentucky in 1884.  […]

Cooper, Nelson and Bailey, Sam (also recorded as Sam Daily)

Nelson Cooper was an African American man who lived in Greenville, Kentucky.  Given the frequency of the name “Nelson Cooper” in the U.S. Census Records of 1860, 1870, and 1880, it was difficult to ascertain reliable, specific biographical information about him.  Please check Ancestry Library for more information. Similarly, given the commonness of Sam Bailey’s […]

Ardell, Harry

Harry Ardell – There is no extant biographical information about Harry Ardell. He was a white lynching victim, one of about 50 white victims between 1880 and 1950.  In contemporary newspapers, he’s referred to as both “Harry” and “Charles” Ardell. While some claim that his real name was Harry Forrest, no such Harry Forrest living […]

Griffey, Willis

Willis Griffey (also identified as William Griffey and Willis Griffery) was an African American man who lived in Christian County, Kentucky. He was born around 1859 to his mother Priscilla Griffey and her husband, an unidentified man. According to the 1870 Kentucky Census, Priscilla is listed as “Press Griffey.” Priscilla Griffey is listed as a […]

Sarver, Robert

Robert Sarver was born in 1864 and according to the 1880 census was one of 11 children born to Wesley and Fanny Sarver. Wesley was born in Tennessee and eventually settled down in Kentucky. He married Kentucky-born Fanny who was nine years younger. Fanny stayed home and “kept the house” and Wesley worked as a […]

Hicks, Wesley and Taylor, Jerry

Wesley Hicks and Jerry Taylor were two of the approximately 20 white men lynched in Kentucky between 1880 and 1950.  Their race and the unusual circumstances of the homicide accounts for the abundance of evidence. Wesley Hicks, also known as Wes Hicks, was born around 1835, which put him around 50 years-old when he was […]